Stella Maris

Why is it I remember yet1
You, of all women one has met2
In random wayfare, as one meets3
The chance romances of the streets,4
The Juliet of a night? I know5
Your heart holds many a Romeo.6
And I, who call to mind your face7
In so serene a pausing-place,8
Where the bright pure expanse of sea,9
The shadowy shore’s austerity,10
Seems a reproach to you and me,11
I too have sought on many a breast12
The ecstasy of love’s unrest,13
I too have had my dreams, and met14
(Ah me !) how many a Juliet.15
Why is it, then, that I recall16
You, neither first nor last of all ?17
For, surely as I see to-night18
The glancing of the lighthouse light,19
Against the sky, across the bay,20
As turn by turn it falls my way,21
So surely do I see your eyes22
Out of the empty night arise,23
Child, you arise and smile to me24
Out of the night, out of the sea,25
The Nereid of a moment there,26
And is it seaweed in your hair ?27
O lost and wrecked, how long ago,28
Out of the drownèd past, I know,29
You come to call me, come to claim30
My share of your delicious shame.31
Child, I remember, and can tell32
One night we loved each other well ;33
And one night’s love, at least or most,34
Is not so small a thing to boast.35
You were adorable, and I36
Adored you to infinity,37
That nupital night too breifly borne38
To the oblivion of morn.39
Oh, no oblivion ! for I feel40
Your lips deliriously steal41
Along my neck, and fasten there ;42
I feel the perfume of your hair,43
And your soft breast that heaves and dips,44
Desiring my desirous lips,45
And that ineffable delight46
When souls turn bodies, and unite47
In the intolerable, the whole48
Rapture of the embodied soul.49
That joy was ours, we passed it by ;50
You have forgotten me, and I51
Remember you thus strangely, won52
An instant from oblivion.53
And I, remembering, would declare54
That joy, not shame, is ours to share,55
Joy that we had the will and power,56
In spite of fate, to snatch one hour,57
Out of vague nights, and days at strife,58
So infinitely full of life.59
And ’tis for this I see you rise,60
A wraith, with starlight in your eyes,61
Here, where the drowsy-minded mood62
Is one with Nature’s solitude ;63
For this, for this, you come to me64
Out of the night, out of the sea.65